vegans the world over have had different experiences with their transition. some of them (like me) did it, literally, overnight. others felt it was easier to remove certain things from their diets one-by-one, and as they became more comfortable with each change, removed the next thing. a friend of mine went from ovo/lacto to just lacto and then to vegan over a period of about a year, and has been completely vegan for two years now. i guess it just depends on your specific circumstances.
for me, i became so disgusted by milk products when i read an article by robert cohen that i knew i couldn't go one more day eating them. eggs was easy for me, because i figured out quickly how to do my own baking and cooking without them.
the main thing i've missed all along is cheese. i found that the more i tried to replace cheese in the beginning, the more i missed it. so for about the first year i just gave up all cheese-like substitutes (aside from a couple of cheese pizza slice slip-ups) and got comfortable with the idea of living without. then i started to experiment with the wide range of cheese replacements on the market and with making my own.
I would say that as you get rid of dairy fat you can replace it with nuts and oils which are tons more healthy for you and good for the poor cows. Eggs in baking are easy enough to replace with baking powder and some other stuff. Try making some baked goods like waffles or cookies without eggs (use baking powder instead) and you'll see they have a more gourmet taste in my opinion. I like to make pizza with soy cheeses but I focus on great gourmet toppings other than cheese. Fried rice w/o eggs is easy to make. Breads don't need eggs. Soy milk and orange juice concertrate mixed make a good drink if you like orange julius. soy milk is best used on ceral. Tofu can be used in alot of recpies instead of eggs and dairy. There are some things that taste cheesy including nutritional yeast and fermented tofu called miso. I would deffinetly go for it on cutting out eggs and dairy. You may miss chocalte and cheese pizza, I know I do, but It so much better. They do make vegan choclate.
I made vegan cakes this weekend for a little girl's birthday party. The family isn't vegan--they just haven't given the child any dairy/eggs yet and didn't want to chance a reaction on her birthday (the mom is lactose intolerant). So I've baked with Ener-G replacer and it worked well in that recipe, at least. I already use soymilk about 80% of the time at home. I think the biggest challenges are going to be cheese (I love cheese--tried vegan cheese and it's just sooooooo different) and meat analogs. I really like Boca and Morningstar but the products I like aren't vegan. And then, of course, trying to be careful about what I eat outside the home. I can only handle salads and baked potatoes about so often
seriously tho congrats on yer decision and just go w/ it. my main thing was getting down on myself when i would 'slip up' or accidently not read a label. just dont sweat it, youre still doing good and keep in mind that if you have any Q's or problems there are a ton of people here on vb that almost always have an answer.
I had major craving when i started last October and it was because my diet was crap! I was taking a multi -vit. but i wasn't eating enough fresh fruits and veggies; mostly just carbs and protien. And i was drinking a lot of coffee. I finally bought some nutrition books and now i pay a lot of attention to what i'm eating. I even tried charting what i ate and added up the calories and the nutrients of what i had eaten for the day and that's when i realezed i needed to take action. www.fitday.com is great for seeing how healthy you are eating. I still know i'm not getting enough Omega-3 and i'm working on that, I just bought some Flax seed oil. My point is i truly believe if you are eating a well balanced diet you wont have 'cravings.'
BTW, I love Papa John's veggie pizza with no cheese! Sometimes i add hummus on top.
FitDay is excellent. I go there about 2-3x's a day to log in stuff. It's really helped me see where I can improve my daily food intake and excercise regime. I can't believe it's free. Such a good resource
fitday sounds great--i will be heading on over there. i have eliminated eggs and dairy and did so overnight--just became completely disgusted. overnight in a sense of not buying milk or eggs. i am still trying to decipher labels to determine what does or does not contain "tainted ingredients". that sort of learning i am sure will take time for me.
Molly - watch out for "casein," "caseinate," or "sodium caseinate" -- they're milk-derived. "Natural flavors" is also very suspicious, it could mean anything. Gelatin, of course, is very very not vegan.
I LOVE ricemilk on cereal, it's way better than real milk. Chocolate Sun Soy is really good, so is Chocolate Almond Breeze. There are a bunch of vegan sweets, oreo-type cookies, and all frozen Tofutti is vegan (I think). That stuff is _awesome_. Check out www.tofutti.com if you haven't seen/eaten before.
I've made pizza bagels with tofutti cheese, and it's not too bad. Doesn't taste like "real" pizza, but it's pretty good. Also check out www.chreese.com for a macaroni and cheese substitute. It's good. I think I'll start a new thread about it, in fact.
Thanks everybody. I'm a loser at logging stuff but I will still have a look at FitDay.
I love rice milk and soy milk, so I don't think the milk part is going to be hard.
I've tried soy cheese before--it will take some getting used to. Perhaps it would be easier to avoid cheese/cheeze/cheese-like-substitutes altogether rather than trying to find a tasty vegan alternative.
I've been cooking with Ener-G egg replacer and so far, so good.
So I guess thus far, I'd say... I'm not vegan yet. But I'm definitely trying to experiment with avoiding animal food products because I do appreciate that the dairy and egg industries aren't the kind and wholesome places they make themselves out to be.
I have never found a satisfactory cheese alternative. I think the best thing is to avoid soy cheeses. If you really have a cheese hankering, make a tofu lasagna. It'll remind of you of that ricotta feel without tasting nasty.
Hmm, it's hard to say. For me, I wanted to go right to veganism when I became a vegetarian in eighth grade, but my mom was creeped out enough by the vegetarianism
Then later when I finally did become vegan, it was more along the lines of starting out just trying to eat healthier, and I had some pasta that I went to put parmesan cheese on and I was just like "..why? What do I need that for?" It's not even that good anyway. Smells kind of like vomit I don't even really like animal-product-foods all that much, so that made it easier for me, but maybe a gradual transition might be good if you're big on the lacto-ovo part of "lacto-ovo vegetarian"
And I second Charity's tofu lasagna suggestion *_____* That was actually my first vegan meal made with the intent of being a vegan meal, LOL.
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